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IKEA to Roll Out Hackable Furniture in 2018

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DIY enthusiasts will soon have a new reason to shop at IKEA. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the beloved chain is developing a new line of “open source” furniture that’s set to hit shelves early next year.

Delaktig, which means “being part of something” in Swedish, is a platform that’s meant to be built upon and customized—something many customers have been doing on their own with the store’s existing products. Instead of buying a complete piece of furniture and taking it apart, shoppers will soon be able to purchase a simple unit that provides lots of room for modification.

The initial flat-pack product IKEA plans to release will be an aluminum profile with cushioning supported by wooden slats. The piece makes for a simple bed or sofa, and it can be upgraded with armrests, side tables, reading lamps, crib walls, or anything else that owners can secure to the frame. It’s made to work with standard bolt heads, so add-ons from IKEA or elsewhere can be attached easily.

“This project is not only about design, but equally about exploring materials and challenging traditional ways of production to redefine the concept of comfort,” IKEA said in a news release from last year. The Delaktig furniture will retail for between $400 and $900 when it goes on sale at the beginning of 2018. If you can’t wait that long to start your next home project, there are plenty of creative IKEA hacks you can use with what’s already in their inventory.

[h/t The Wall Street Journal]

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Design
IKEA’s New Augmented Reality App Lets You Test Out Virtual Furniture in Your Home
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IKEA

No matter how much measuring and research you do beforehand, buying a piece of furniture without knowing what it will look like in your home is always a gamble. With its new augmented reality app, IKEA hopes to take some of the guesswork out of the process. IKEA Place features more than 2000 items in the Swedish retailer's inventory, and visualizing them in the space where you live is as easy as tapping a button.

As WIRED reports, IKEA Place is among the first apps to take advantage of Apple's ARKit, an augmented reality platform that debuted as part of iOS 11. iPhone and iPad owners with the latest update can download IKEA's new app for free and start browsing through home goods right away.

To use the tool, you must first select the product you wish to test out, whether it's a loveseat, a kitchen table, or a dresser. Then, with the camera activated, you can point your device at whichever space you want the item to fill and watch it appear on the screen in front of you.

According to IKEA, the 3D models are scaled with 98 percent accuracy. Factors that are hard to analyze from photos online, like shadows, lighting, and textures, are also depicted as they would appear in real life. So if a sofa that looks great under the lights of a store looks drab in your living room, or if a desk that seems tiny online doesn't fit inside your office, the app will let you know. It's the closest you can get to seeing how a piece of furniture complements a room without lugging it through the doorway.

IKEA isn't the first company to improve interior design with computerized images. Several hardware stores and furniture outlets offer their own AR apps. Other services like Modsy let customers pay to create full virtual models of their homes before populating them with 3D furniture. Even IKEA had a basic AR app prior to this one, but it was glitchy and not always accurate. This newest iteration aims to provide a more seamless shopping experience. And with the latest iOS update placing a greater emphasis on AR, you can expect to see more apps using the technology in the near future.

[h/t WIRED]

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“Dissension” by Tobias Rothe. Original image courtesy Fondazione Federico Zeri/Università di Bologna // CC-BY 3.0
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Art
Get Your GIFs Ready for This International Public Domain GIF-Making Competition
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“Dissension” by Tobias Rothe. Original image courtesy Fondazione Federico Zeri/Università di Bologna // CC-BY 3.0

Excellent GIF-making skills can serve you beyond material for your clever tweets. Each year, a group of four digital libraries from across the world hosts GIF IT UP, a competition to find the best animated image sourced from public domain images from their archives.

The competition is sponsored by Europeana, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), New Zealand’s DigitalNZ, and the National Library of Australia’s Trove, all of which host millions of public domain works. The requirements are that the source material must be in the public domain, have a 'no known copyright restrictions' statement, or have a Creative Commons license that allows its reuse. The material must also come from one of the sponsored sources. Oh, and judging by the past winners, it helps if it’s a little whimsical.

The image above won the grand prize in 2015. And this was a runner-up in 2016:

via GIPHY

This year’s prizes haven’t been announced yet (although Europeana says there will be a new one for first-time GIF makers), but last year’s grand prize winner got their own Giphoscope, and runners-up got $20 gift cards. (Turns out, there’s not a lot of money in public domain art.)

Not an expert GIFer yet? You can always revisit the audio version of DPLA’s advanced GIF-making tutorial from last year.

The fourth-annual GIF IT UP contest opens to submissions October 1.

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